Sufiya Begum vs Union Of India on 5 December, 2017

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                                            REPORTABLE



         IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
     CIVIL ORIGINAL/APPELLATE JURISDICTION
WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 1020 OF 2017

KAMALAKHYA DEY PURKAYASTHA
AND ORS.                                   ...PETITIONER(S)

                         VERSUS

UNION OF INDIA
AND ORS.                                   ...RESPONDENT(S)
                            WITH

      WRIT    PETITION    (CIVIL)    NO.    1096    OF    2017
      WRIT    PETITION    (CIVIL)    NO.    1095    OF    2017
      WRIT    PETITION    (CIVIL)    NO.    1101    OF    2017
     WRIT    PETITION    (CIVIL)    NO.    1104    OF    2017
      WRIT    PETITION    (CIVIL)    NO.    1147    OF    2017
                               
I.A.NO.101687 OF 2017 IN SLP(C)NO.13259 OF 2017


                 J U D G M E N T

RANJAN GOGOI,J.

1. Heard the learned counsels for the

parties.

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2. The writ petitions and the

Interlocutory Application(s) under

consideration have been filed seeking

directions from the Court as to the manner

in which the expression “originally

inhabitants of the State of Assam”

appearing in Clause 3(3) of the Schedule

(Special Provisions as to manner of

Preparation of National Register of Indian

Citizen in State of Assam) to the

Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and

Issues of National Identity Cards) Rules,

2003, is to be understood and furthermore

for directions laying down the procedure by

which such persons are required to be

identified.

3. Relevant clauses of the Schedule

including Clause 3(3) reads as follows:

“2. Manner of preparation of draft
National Register of Indian Citizen in
State of Assam—
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(1)(a) ……

(b) ……….

(c) …………

(2) The Local Registrar of
Citizen Registration shall receive
the filled up application forms,
at the same place where the
applications are issued, and issue
the receipt thereof to the
applicant.

(3) The Local Registrar of
Citizen Registration, after the
receipt of the application under
sub-paragraph (2) shall scrutinize
the applications and after its
verification, prepare a
consolidated list thereof which
shall contain the names of the
following persons, namely—

(a) person whose name
appear in any of the
electoral rolls upto the
midnight of the 24th day of
March, 1971 or in National
Register of Citizens, 1951;

(b) descendants of the
persons mentioned in clause

(a) above;

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3. Scrutiny of applications—

(1) The scrutiny of
applications received under
sub-paragraph (3) of paragraph 2
shall be made by comparing the
information stated in the
application form with the official
records and the persons, of whom
the information is found in order,
shall be eligible for inclusion of
their names in the consolidated
list.

(2) The names of persons who
have been declared as illegal
migrants or foreigners by the
competent authority shall not be
included in the consolidated list:
Provided that the names of persons
who came in the State of Assam
after 1966 and before the 25th
March, 1971 and registered
themselves with the Foreigner
Registration Regional Officer and
who have not been declared as
illegal migrants or foreigners by
the competent authority shall be
eligible to be included in the
consolidated list.

(3) T he names of persons who
are originally inhabitants of the State
of Assam and their children and
descendants, who are Citizens of
India, shall be included in the
consolidated list if the
citizenship of such persons is
ascertained beyond reasonable
doubt and to the satisfaction of
the registering authority;
(underlining is ours)
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(4) The Local Registrar of
Citizens Registration may, in case
of any doubt in respect of
parental linkage or any particular
mentioned in the application
received under sub-paragraph (3)
of paragraph 2, refer the matter
to the District Magistrate for
investigation and his decision and
Local Registrar of Citizens
Registration shall also inform the
same to the individual or the
family.”

4. Clause 3(3) provides for

identification of persons entitled to be

included in the National Register of

Citizens (NRC) by a process different from

what is enumerated in Clause 3(2) and,

therefore, the said Clause i.e. 3(3)

constitutes an exception thereto. Clause

3(3) contemplates a less strict and

vigorous process for deciding claims for

inclusion in the NRC insofar as persons who

are originally inhabitants of the State of

Assam are concerned. Identification of

persons who are originally inhabitants of
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the State of Assam as against those who are

not does not determine any entitlement for

inclusion in the NRC which is on the basis

of proof of citizenship alone and nothing

else. Neither does such identification

confer any special entitlement or benefit.

This has, infact, been clarified in several

of the reports submitted by the learned

Coordinator before this Court.

5. The prayer made in the writ

petitions and the I.As, as admitted in the

course of the hearing by the learned

counsels for the writ

petitioners/applicants, is founded on an

apprehension that by the process of

verification of the claims for inclusion in

the NRC based on the claim to be originally

inhabitants of the State of Assam a

superior class of citizens is being

created. The question who is originally

inhabitant of the State of Assam, according
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to the applicants and the writ petitioners,

may also have impact on the entitlement of

such persons in the matter of opportunities

for education, employment etc. vis-a-vis

the second category of citizens i.e. who

are not originally inhabitants of Assam.

6. All such apprehensions are wholly

unfounded. The exercise of upgradation of

NRC is not intended to be one of

identification and determination of who are

originally inhabitants of the State of

Assam. The sole test for inclusion in the

NRC is citizenship under the Constitution

of India and under the Citizenship Act

including Section 6A thereof. Citizens who

are originally inhabitants/residents of the

State of Assam and those who are not are at

par for inclusion in the NRC.

7. In view of the above, we do not

find any reason to issue any direction or
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clarification as to the meaning of the term

“originally inhabitants of the State of

Assam” as sought for in the present Writ

Petitions and the Interlocutory

Application(s) which are accordingly

disposed of in terms of our directions and

observations as above.

.………………….,J.
(RANJAN GOGOI)

…………………,J.
(ROHINTON FALI NARIMAN)
NEW DELHI
DECEMBER 5, 2017

Article source: Supreme Court

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